Tiger Woods, however, struggled to adjust to slow greens as he slipped six strokes behind American leader in the opening round of the Quail Hollow event in Charlotte.
Woods took a small step back at Augusta National when he misfired with his iron play, didn't break par until the final round and tied for 32nd.
Then he started making his hay on the easier holes on the course, starting at the seventh where he canned a 9-footer for birdie. "If I make a couple putts I'd be 2, 3 under par".
Then, as was the nature of his round, Woods followed a birdie from three feet on the 15th with a three-putt bogey from 15 feet on the 16th. Both Koepka and Reed had longer putts from the same area, which allowed Woods to better judge the break and tempo, and he drilled the putt.
He won this tournament 11 years ago, but hasn't played here since missing the cut in 2012. "I just didn't make anything today".
"I'm kind of free-wheeling it at this point", he said. "I need to continue working on it and get sharp".
Shahbaz Hashmi and Tiger Woods
Mickelson recently earned his 43rd PGA Tour win at the WGC-Mexico Championship in a playoff against reigning FedExCup champion Justin Thomas, 23 years his junior.
Should Woods win THE PLAYERS this year, he would join Jack Nicklaus as the only three-time winners of the event (1974, 1976, 1978), and he would also notch his 80th TOUR victory, bringing him within two of Sam Snead for most wins on the PGA TOUR.
The only "name" on the front page of the leaderboard is two-time champion Rory McIlroy at three under. "A lot more bunkers are in play, they're more hard to carry, and some of the greens have more slope".
On a day when two-times Wells Fargo victor Rory McIlroy started with a smooth three-under-par 68, John Peterson made consecutive eagles for a sizzling 65 to take the lead at the Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina. Staying the course of his up-and-down day, he left his 73-footer for birdie on the par-3 17th a woeful 17 feet short, but responded with his best putt of the day and made par. It will also be the first of back-to-back tournaments for Woods, who's also slated to play in the Players Championship next week at TPC Sawgrass. "If I don't make it, I'm not playing golf anymore".
"Ball-striking-wise, I'm fine, I'm right there", Woods said. "He's our hero. And, of course, we've seen him go through such tough times, but to see him come out on the other side ... that's just so inspiring". "There's probably going to be, I'm guessing, 15 guys with a chance on Sunday".
Woods said his putting woes may have been the result of starting late in the day.
Gas prices expected to remain high this summer
French President Emmanuel Macron earlier last week predicted President Donald Trump will exit the Iran agreement, while U.S. West TexasIntermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 15 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $67.40 per barrel.